If you think about those who are closest to you, then you can probably easily identify those who are more opinionated than others. While having people like this around may be helpful in making certain decisions, any help they provide you with in selecting the executor or beneficiaries of your estate can hurt you, making it take longer to settle your estate.
The reason that having influential people in your life can impact the settlement of your estate is because of a factor known as undue influence. If you fail to list someone as a beneficiary in your who may have anticipated being included, that person may decide to sue your estate for what he or she thinks is a fair share of your assets.
In this case, all a beneficiary has to do is claim that the testator, or the person writing a will, was subjected to mental or physical duress prior to signing the will. If someone is able to successfully do this, then a judge may render the will null and void.
Some factors that a judge takes into account in determining whether undue influence was used include a testator's mental and physical health and their age. A judge will look to see if there was a will that was previously written as well. He or she will compare that against the current one to see how different they are.
The burden ultimately falls on the shoulders of the plaintiff, or the person laying claim to the portion of the estate, to prove whether the testator's will indeed reflects his or her interests or someone else's.
As you may imagine, the most common reason wills are disputed is undue influence or a lack of testamentary capacity. If you're intent on contesting a will, then you'll only want the most experienced Melbourne trust litigation attorney on your side.